I am not currently home schooling my daughter. Yet. She is a bit young. I wanted to share some positive sides to homeschooling that a recent post might not have covered. Everyone has their own opinions, and everyone is entitled to share those opinions, but absolutes don’t work for everyone. Each person is unique and thus may learn differently and experience life differently.
I am a person who learned differently. If my mother had the option of homeschooling me, that would have been helpful in my early learning years. At least for my elementary years. I liked to talk things out as I worked through problems, and I was a kinestetic (hands on) and auditory learner. Now, in public schools they don’t necessarily like a talkative kid. They want you to be quiet to learn: To fit into a box that is already made. For me, I was that square peg that did not fit into the round hole for my early learning experience.
Later, junior high, I excelled in different areas. High school, I took Advanced Placement classes and did really well. Why, you may ask? My classes didn’t have more than 8-10 kids in each class. I had a lot more one-on-one with teachers and I did a lot better because we were asked to talk problems out and to solve things doing hands on learning. With the education system the way it is right now, my daughter will be lucky to get into a class that has less than 32 kids in a room. I can already tell that she is a verbal kid. She talks while she is learning things and acts like she is explaining things as she goes. A lot like me, really. Do I want for her what I experienced as a kid? No. Ultimately, I want her to excel as a kid and then move into public schools once she has gotten her own learning routing down. How long that will be, I don’t know. But I am going to do my best to find the educational environment she will blossom in.
Now, the theory that home schooled kids are not well socialized has its merits. I went to college with a guy who was home schooled. He was/is a brilliant guy. He entered college as a 16 year old who already had a bachelors under his belt. The guy is smart, but to say he lacked some social skills when he first came to college would have been an understatement. Can we say socially inept? I am not sure if his family had him get involved in social activities with people his age when he was younger, but it would have helped. These days, homeschooling has become a lot more well rounded. Really, you say? Yep.
I have met with several moms that are homeschooling their kids. Here is what I have learned. The moms I know teach their kids actual academics 3-4 days of the week. Their kids are super well-rounded and ahead in their prospective grades, even with studying academics only 3-4 days during the week. How, you may ask? They then go out into society and learn hands on what they have learned through the week. They participate in a P.E. type class at their local YMCA. Their kids get to do PE with a whole bunch of other home schooled kids for as many days during the week that the moms wish to take their kids. This is also a requirement for our state.
Also, if there are subjects the moms are not confident in teaching, there are learning centers (academy) that can teach their kids the subjects in a small school environment with other home schooled students. The kids get a lot of interaction with others.
What if you would like your kids to have enrichment activities? I know of several local community choirs and musicians that can teach my kids about music, at least so that they can appreciate it if they are not wishing to participate like I have. Some of the other moms use the extra day in the week to go volunteer at a local homeless shelter or humane society. These kids have a lot more positive interactions with people in the community than they might in school. They learn humility, they learn the benefits of volunteering and giving to others without needing to receive something in return. They put what they learn to immediate and good use.
Now, ultimately I want my kids to attend a public school so that they can have a more competitive, and well-rounded school experience. There are some things that I would not be able to provide at home. I believe that this mostly includes school sports, clubs, and competitive music opportunities. I am sure I can find similar opportunities in the community where I live, and know that there are even junior proms or dances that are created for home school students. If the dissolving of school music and sports programs continues, then perhaps learning at home would not be such a stretch?
In the end, I don’t know if I will home school my daughter or not. With the school systems getting larger, the number of students in the classroom higher, and the number of teachers and funds to do enrichment activities dwindles, home school is looking like more of an option. I was a special education teacher for six years (k-12, transition high school), so teaching one-on-one may be easier for me to see myself doing that some other parents. I have a few years to decide, but believe me when I say I will look at how my kids learn and then make a decision based on that.
If you are interested in learning more, here are some sites that could provide more information:
Washington State Home school sites: